Taking a Stance on Missiles of Ligneous and Petrous Consistency “I do not agree with what you have to say, but I’ll defend to the death your right to say it.”- Voltaire Voltaire’s freedom of speech quote has always been a … Continue reading →
Privilege: The idea for this piece came to me at a glamorous party in London a few weekends ago. Is what you see what you get? My husband’s younger cousin visited us recently from Montreal. Last week he accompanied me … Continue reading →
What happens when we make blanket assumptions about an individual or situation? What lessons do we learn when we assign a prejudgment based exclusively on the information initially presented before us, interpret what is “not said” and choose not to read between the lines? What opportunities do we miss out on?
Here’s a personal anecdote that I’d like to share on a new theme I’m exploring- namely, assumptions.
I have to say that I am amazed, stupefied and frankly humbled by the interest in my last piece on the expat experience. I have never had so many hits on any one essay. Obviously the theme has resonated with so many of you. Have THAT many people been stuck in traffic with a hog?
Seriously though, I believe I’ve touched on an even deeper subject that really hits home (no pun intended) with women — the feminine angle of trying to make a place for oneself when one’s world is composed of so many moving parts. Continue reading →
At the school my children attend here in England many families have confirmed the inevitable- whether they’re staying in London or moving on to the next adventure. It’s about this time of year when parents greet each other in the school yard that the same question is posed over and over again: “So, are you going or staying?” Each family receives a packet in the mail inquiring as to whether you plan to re-register your child(ren) for the next academic year. I imagine a school bureaucrat, processing the response letters received into two different piles: “remaining” or “departing” with automated indifference. I then contrast that indifference to the depth of emotions that reverberate throughout the entire expat community– regardless of which of those two piles their family’s dossier is placed…
A few weeks ago over the children’s spring break, while the family and I were on a train to Scotland for a wedding, I opened my Facebook InBox to discover a heartbreaking message from my girlfriend, Becky, whom up to that point, I hadn’t known very long but who I now consider one of my dearest friends. She announced very matter-of-factly, with apologies for sending out the blanket message, that she had been diagnosed with breast cancer and had made the decision to return to the States within the next few weeks to seek treatment. She went on to state that her husband would see their two little girls through the end of the school term until December when they would all follow Becky and repatriate back to Colorado. My friend assured all the recipients of that message she would be fine – that she was strong and would turn to God to see her through this dark period of uncertainty. And that was that. Continue reading →
I have been meaning to write this essay since my family lived in Paris — a period in my life that today seems like a hundred years ago. When we first moved there in July 1999, Simon’s company put us up in pleasant one-bedroom apartment in a typical 19th century Haussmannian-designed building in the 8th arondissement – near to La Madeleine and just around the corner from the big name departments stores – les Printemps and Galeries LaFayette.
Across the road from our apartment building was “Square Louis” (pronounced “skwahr” in French). In the early hours of one summer evening, I’d made the grave mistake of walking around this charming little Square with Baby Seb (now a teenager) in stroller to pass the time until Simon got home from work. Every single park bench was occupied—which I’d found unusual given that during the day there were always at least a few benches available.
The most striking feature of the park, however, was not the lack of seating but who was occupying those seats- very much couples only. Continue reading →
Since writing my rules on style, I have had to go out and buy a pair of jogging pants for my daughter’s PE class. The ugly kind. The very ones I wrote about. AND they’re ill fitting. Not sure who hates them more. Apparently, the jogging pants look is now very “in” — worn with pumps! No comment.
The best feedback I got on my sports commentary was from a friend who went skiing over half term. She too was less than enthusiastic about the sport- for which she’d bought a brand-new ski suit. “I hated it! I kept falling off the ski lift, my hands were cold, my ankles hurt and the worst part was– I didn’t feel pretty!”
I asked my sister, Myra, yesterday if she found my demeanour intimidating– a comment that seems to dropped more often than not recently. She said, “No, but I’m used to you. To everyone else, you come across as opinionated and judgemental.”
My last posting about sports had me detail my “sports mom” deficiencies as a misfit hockey and soccer mom.
So, is there hope or salvation for someone like me? Alas, I thought that might well be the case with my little girl who does ballet. After all, ballet is an ART not a sport. I also mentioned in a previous essay on parenting that for a pre-Christmas ballet show, where all the other little girls were visions of performance perfection, my daughter and her friend (whom I am in charge of when it’s my turn to drive) were less than “preened”.
As a child, I harboured ambitions of one day becoming a ballerina myself. I religiously signed-out over and over again every ballet book every published from my elementary school library and dreamt of attending White Lodge here in England—the feeder school for Britain’s Royal Ballet. Continue reading →